Troop Demands In Iraq Mean Shortages For Afghanistan

Troop Demands In Iraq Mean Shortages For Afghanistan
April 3rd, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Troop Demands In Iraq Mean Shortages For Afghanistan

Troop Demands In Iraq Mean Shortages For Afghanistan
April 2, 2008
Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN), 7:00 PM
LOU DOBBS: Good evening everybody.
A blunt warning tonight that our military does not have a sufficient number of troops to fight and win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time. Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen today said we can't send additional reinforcements to Afghanistan because so many of our troops are now in Iraq.
Admiral Mullen also appeared to quash speculation that we can withdraw any more of our troops from Iraq in the fall. The number of combat brigades now in Iraq is due to decline from 20 to 15 by July.
Jamie McIntyre has our report from the Pentagon -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the reality is if things were going better in Iraq, the U.S. would have plenty of American troops for Afghanistan. The fact that the Pentagon can't send any reinforcements any time this year tells you about all you need to know about the prospects for future troop cuts in Iraq. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MCINTYRE: U.S. military simply has too many troops tied down in Iraq to send much-needed reinforcements to Afghanistan this year even though the chairman of the Joint Chiefs says Afghanistan is a priority.
ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: There are force requirements there that we can't currently meet, so having forces in Iraq don't, at the level they're at, don't allow us to fill the need we have in Afghanistan.
MCINTYRE: The American general in command of NATO forces in Afghanistan says he desperately needs 3,000 trainers for the Afghan military, plus another couple of combat brigades. The U.S. has already used the reduction of Marines in Iraq to temporarily reinforce NATO troops in the south of Afghanistan, but the 3,500 additional troops leave in the fall. It's why President Bush is pushing so hard for more NATO troops at the summit now under way in Romania.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We expect our NATO allies to shoulder the burden necessary to succeed.
MCINTYRE: But implicit in the comments by the Joint Chiefs chairman is the pessimism over the prospect that additional troop cuts in Iraq will free up forces for Afghanistan any time soon. Admiral Mullen doesn't see it.
MULLEN: I have no expectation that we would generate additional -- could generate additional forces this year.
MCINTYRE: Mullen says the pause after the Iraq surge ends could last weeks or months. He's not prepared to say. And the mechanics of bringing troops home could take another month or two. Add it up and it makes significant troop cuts in Iraq appear increasingly unlikely, especially in light of the recent up tick in violence and the failure of Iraqi security forces to mount a successful operation in Basra. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MCINTYRE: Admiral Mullen's cautious assessment reflects the current thinking here at the Pentagon that success in Iraq is fragile at best and that the talk of getting U.S. troop levels in Iraq down to about 100,000 by the time the next president takes office may just be wishful thinking. Lou?
DOBBS: Jamie, to put in context what we are hearing from the United States military here, Admiral Mullen's statement today that we simply don't have the troops based upon the demands in Iraq to send additional forces into Afghanistan. On previous statements by the general staff that the United States Army is right now, in effect, broken because of the number of tours the length of those tours and the demands have been placed on those troops and their equipment over the course of the past four years.
Why is there not a comprehensive, responsible review of what is happening in this country to its military forces, what needs to be done immediately to relieve the burden that we're placing on our troops and prepare for a future in which we're going to be engaged militarily?
MCINTYRE: Well, there is a review going on. There is an effort to increase the size of the military. But the problem is it's not happening fast enough and success in Iraq and Afghanistan are not happening fast enough, either. It's a very delicate balance at the moment and they don't have any wiggle room.
DOBBS: Does the general staff there in the Pentagon with you understand that they could go -- very well go down in history as incompetent and inadequate to the most important challenge of this decade in American history?
MCINTYRE: Well, I think they're very well aware that history will judge them, but most of the military officers I talk to here are more concerned about what's happening right now and trying to do something to relieve this very obvious strain on the forces and of course one of the first things they're trying to do is reduce the length of those tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, something they still haven't been able to do because of the problems we've just talked about.
DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much, Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

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